Archive for August, 2012

odds and ends: game of thrones, dune

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Anxiously awaiting the new TV season, Ellen and I have abandoned network and cable television and have been gorging ourselves on newly acquired season sets from the library. First up: Game of Thrones.

 With not being HBO subscribers, we are always a year behind everyone else we know in regards to these water cooler programs.

I read A Game of Thrones five years ago; I always associate the book with Ellen’s pregnancy, because it’s the paperback I picked up when she and I did the “new parent” thing of going to the bookstore and buying EVERY GODDAMN PARENTING BOOK EVER WRITTEN in preparation for our new bundle of joy. I remember liking the first book in the series a lot, although I gradually lost interest in them as the story started wading more deeply into magical/fantastical waters.

The HBO production of Game of Thrones was terrific, both as an adaptation and as appointment television. In particular, the producers ably met all the potential casting pitfalls so far. One of the challenges of making a Game of Thrones TV show is that even the characters who seem to have minor roles at first eventually, with the fullness of time, go on to become important player in the titular game. A character like The Hound has something like 10 lines over the course of 10 episodes… but he become far more important in future installments.

Further, I think the casting of Sean Bean as Ned Stark was great. It’s not a flashy role, but getting an alum of The Lord of the Rings series in the lead role for this season was a brainstorm. All the baggage he carries with him from those movies make Ned Stark’s character arc in S.1 all the more surprising to viewers.

Also, Peter Dinklage. C’mon. Awesome.


Final thing I’m going to write about Dune, I swear…

If you’ve been reading over the summer, you may remember I took a run at reading Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi classic. I took a slow, leisurely… run. A jog, perhaps. I’m usually a quick reader, but something about Dune slowed me up; even though I was enjoying the book I didn’t get through it with my normal pace.

I enjoyed the book enough to seek out the 1984 movie adaptation, famously directed by David Lynch.

I’ve enjoyed the director’s work in the past – Twin Peaks was a fun ride for awhile, and Mulholland Falls was a flick a lot of my friends and I were crazy about. Lynch has famously disowned Dune and I was interested to see how the picture held up in that light.

Boy, Dune is a fascinatingly bad movie.

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summer journal comics: advice for new students

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , on August 30, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Elliot starts back at preschool in two weeks… and if I’m being honest, we are COUNTING THE DAYS ‘TIL HE’S OUT OF THE HOUSE. Henry’s going to be doing one day a week at the same school, and I think he’s really going to like it.

summer journal comics: play pretend dinner

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , on August 29, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I scratched this out during a meeting at school.

summer journal comics: two versions of the same joke

Posted in summer journal comics with tags , , on August 28, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Classic, right? I believe Elliot picked this joke up from Arthur’s Halloween. Henry obviously picked it up from Elliot.

what’s going on with school (and where are the comics)

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I should start by letting you all know what I mentioned here has come to pass. I’ve been asked to teach seven periods of instruction this year, no planning period. I thought long and hard about whether I was going to agree to this request, knowing full well how important a planning period is to the general sanity of an educator. I also talked it over with Ellen for a few days, as I knew the burden of my working such a full schedule would impact her and the kids in a lot of ways. In the end, I agreed to give up my plan and teach a seventh class this year.

The new class is an Honors English class for 9th graders, which is one of the chief reasons why I made the decision. Students in those classes tend to be self-motivated with good support systems at home already in place. I’m already teaching two other sections of Honors, so this wouldn’t be a matter of creating new lesson plans. I’d just have another section where I implement LPs I’m using earlier in the day. Although it’s a lot of extra work, especially at the end of the day, it seemed like a new class would be a decent fit.

That being said, I do have some qualms about the choice I made. Besides the loss of downtime during my workday, I can’t help but think about the practical implications of this situation. If we have more students than teachers can adequately cover, the school should just be able to hire new teachers. That seems simple math to me. If you follow this line of thinking, I suppose I’m part of the problem. If I hadn’t volunteered to teach the class… and NOBODY else on staff had volunteered… well then, I suppose the school would have been forced to hire new teachers.

At any rate, I said yes and I’m starting to wonder what my increased workload will mean for the comic. If the past week has been any indication, the time I usually use to sketch thumbnails (my planning period) has disappeared and the time I use to draw and ink the comics (after school, usually during the evenings) is reserved for rest and recovery. I have the first two weeks of comics planned for the 2012-2013 school year in my sketchbook… but I’m not moving at my usual pace.

I suppose we’ll see what the future holds. I have a couple of “Elliot and Henry” comics to post in the upcoming week. Hopefully I’ll adjust more to my new schedule and be set to post new teaching comics soon!

quick friday update

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Hey howdy folks, thought I’d check in with a quick update on what’s going on in the new school year. My classes started in earnest this week and on the whole, I have to say I have a terrific bunch of students this year. I’m going to miss the group from last year but I think I’ll enjoy working with the class of 2016 for the next few months. I should also mention my class of seniors, with whom I’m also looking forward to working.

Our school is moving toward a new model for placing students in classes and it’s causes some initial kinks to the beginning of the year… specifically in regards to class size. No joke; I have a seventh period class of 40 students! FORTY! My classroom can’t even hold thirty desks! I’ve got kids sitting on the floor!

It looks like I may be asked to give up my prep period and teach a full load of seven classes. I’m not sure what to think about this option. I would get paid 1/7th of my salary for the work, which would be nice. The new class would be an advanced English class; the possibility of working with motivated students make this a little easier to anticipate. On the other hand, I’m worried it would be like running a marathon every day for 185 days. I’m a little winded just from writing this update; imagine what seven nonstop periods of instruction will do to me.

More updates as time allows.

thrift store finds: target clearance finds

Posted in thrift store finds with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Twice a year, our local Target liquidates all the toys and games which aren’t big sellers. While in the past, most of the toys I’ve noticed on clearance have been well-deserving of being on the chop, this time around I couldn’t help but notice some darn fun action figures on offer. Combining this with both Elliot and Henry having become old enough to enjoy playing with these types of toys (well, mostly Henry if I’m being honest) was all the motivation I needed to buy some of this stuff.

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odds and ends: back to school, totoro, more dune

Posted in odds and ends, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

As you read these words, I am back in school. We have two days of training/classroom prep both today and Monday… and then it begins again! I’ve never had a problem getting excited for a new school year, although I will freely admit that this summer seemed to go by a lot more quickly than others. I guess I’m just getting older.

I was excited to find out yet again that my high school’s English department has met all the requirements for the Ohio Graduation Test in the 2011-2012 school year. That’s some nice news to come back to. I’m proud of my department’s performance over the past four years and I only see us continuing to provide well for our students in the upcoming months.

For newer readers, I suppose I should mention: Although my classroom will be in full swing by this time next week, I hold off on posting teaching comics until after Labor Day. I like to give myself a couple of weeks to get to know my students and get a feel for the group dynamics before I get started. I’m also going to pull back on Thrift Store Finds and these Odds and Ends posts until that point.

That being said, I may just pop up with a comic strip or two between then and now. I have several “summer journal comics” on the drawing board and I reserve the right to be inspired.


My sons are now Studio Ghibli obsessed! Earlier in the summer, I rented The Secret World of Arrietty for Elliot but I found myself surprised to find both he and Henry enraptured by the flick. Ditto Kiki’s Delivery Service… but man oh man, my kids reserve the majority of their love for My Neighbor Totoro.

I had never seen My Neighbor Totoro until we started working our way through director Hayao Miyazaki’s library of films, but I was familiar with the character. Sort of a giant, rotund bunny rabbit, Totoro graced a lot of tee shirts and dorm room walls when I was in college. I’ve never been a great study of anime so the flick was easy to skip… but I wish I had seen this movie when it came out in 1988. I would have been as obsessed as Elliot and Henry are now.

One of the things I love about the majority of the Miyazaki films I’ve seen is they lack antagonists. There’s no big bad villain in My Neighbor Totoro… it’s almost just a series of imaginative, whimsical vignettes connected by a small narrative. Plot heavy, this film is not.

Another thing that’s fantastic about the movie is Totoro himself. I just mentioned I wished I had seen this movie when it came out in ’88, because when I watch it now and I look at Totoro objectively… he’s kind of frightening looking! He’s gigantic, he’s got claws for hands, and that gigantic smile! At the same time, I’m projecting an adult’s POV on the character; my children LOVE him, as evidenced by this picture Elliot drew.


Last thing: After something like two months, I FINALLY FINISHED READING DUNE LAST NIGHT! I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a book that so stymied me in finishing. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but usually enjoyment like that is carried over into being able to complete said book in a short amount of time. Not so with Dune; I know I started it at the end of June and here we are, mid-August.

I will not be reading Dune Messiah… at least, not for awhile.

family drawings by my best friend

Posted in sketchbook with tags , , , , , , on August 9, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Some longtime readers might remember Melissa. Melissa used to pop up in the comic all the time when we were living together in Boston… and then when we were both living in Brooklyn. Miss also used to be kind enough to draw guest strips for me, whenever I’d be out of town or on an extended break from scratching out comics.

By a wide margin, Melissa’s comics were always FAR better than mine. You can check some of them out here.

Well, Melissa and my friend Mary came for a visit this past week and Miss took a couple of minutes to doodle these on a napkin. This is the first napkin, with the boys, Ellen and myself.

…and this is the second napkin, drawn for Mary to commemorate the visit. Melissa’s been my best friend for almost fifteen years and I wouldn’t be married to Ellen if it wasn’t for Mary… so these are very special to me.

summer journal comics: a little leftover

Posted in sketchbook, summer journal comics with tags , , on August 8, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I pencilled this one panel and got distracted before I could finish the second. When I finally got back around to my sketchbook, I had forgotten what the hell this comic was supposed to be about! I inked the first panel when during some writer’s block and figured I’d slap it up here. It’s a nicer note to go out on than yesterday’s comic, I suppose.